Pinpointing Digital Profit: Pinterest Deepens eCommerce Capabilities
The social media platform Pinterest is shifting further and further away from its original essence of a social sharing and lifestyle app to a product discovery and ecommerce platform.
This year, Pinterest is pinpointing ecommerce to the center of its operations as it looks to broaden its offerings.
On April 27, during its first quarter earnings report, the company spoke of its plans to release Your Shop, a brand new feature that will enable “a customized shopping page powered by our taste-driven algorithm informed by Pinners’ unique preferences and styles” along with the new Pinterest API for shopping.
Pinterest’s new strategy was laid out by CEO and cofounder Ben Silbermann, in which he declared the platform’s aim to become more shoppable – adding to the broader trend of the commercialization of social media platforms.
Ben went on to describe the platform’s three-stage strategy for ecommerce which begins with a verified merchant program and moves up into advanced capabilities for product upload catalogs.
“This quarter, we expanded that to include a Pinterest API for shopping,” said Ben, “as well as a partnership with WooCommerce that gives millions of merchants the power to turn their product catalogs into shoppable, product pins.”
With the use of real-time data in feeds, it “gives people confidence to purchase,” added Ben, “the second part of that strategy is improving the discoverability.”
In the past, Pinterest had thought about new ways to introduce ecommerce to the platform, and this news is built on top of this.
Pinterest’s Your Shop
“The next big milestone for us will be taking Your Shop, which is a personalized shopping surface out of beta and into the market in a more mainstream way,” said Ben, who called it “fundamental to our vision, so users can not only come to Pinterest with the expectation of being inspired, but also know that they can turn those inspirations into reality with purchases.”
Pinterest is also working on streamlining the checkout experience. “We continue to test seamless checkout with more merchants,” said Ben. “We think that for long-considered items, people are less sensitive to having one-tap checkout. Over the long run, we think there’s going to be a fundamental expectation” when it comes to one-tap capabilities in social media commerce.
Drops to ad revenue coming from changes in iOS are also having similar effects on Pinterest with competing platforms. “There is a fair amount of weakness in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) space, driven we think by supply chain pressures and inflation,” said Pinterest CFO Todd Morgenfeld. “The combination of those things has not been good for brand building.”
In a bid to make Pinterest more commercialized, the company is “looking at ways to drive more sustainable user acquisition and retention,” added Todd. “We’re making Pinterest more browsable without immediately requiring users to sign up when they land on the site.
“While this had a modest negative impact on global new user signups initially, we believe that removing barriers for longer browsing sessions can drive more activations.”
New digital tools
Speaking of mobile app monthly average users, Todd explained that the US and Canada “were also relatively resilient, declining around 6% year over year versus down 31% year-over-year for web based MAUs. Sequentially, U.S. and Canada mobile app MAUs are flat.”
“Finally, shopping engagement remained relatively resilient, with the number of pinners engaging in shopping surfaces growing year over year.” Particularly key to helping users get inspired will be the platform’s native video content.
Elaborating on this, Todd said that the native content landscape is “gaining traction, the number of video idea pins up 15 times year over year, and this content is resonating with more and more people as we continue to see that pinners who follow multiple creators visit Pinterest more often compared to those who do not.”
Pinterest has been working on new publishing tools after the platform’s purchase of video creation and editing app Vochi back in 2021. “So creators can make even better content that’s only entertaining but helps move our user base from inspiration all the way to action,” said Todd.
Finally, Pinterest plans to launch a worldwide brand awareness marketing campaign in tandem with its expanding ecommerce functionality.
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